Otherworldly rock formations rise from the ocean mist in Cannon Beach, Oregon, which creates a beautiful year-round spectacle. With its stunning coastline and art-oriented community, this charming village makes a wonderful getaway spot. From many lovely seaside Cannon Beach vacation rentals, you can easily walk or bike to the best local attractions or take a scenic drive. Start planning your Cannon Beach trip with these exciting local activities.

ecola state park cannon beach
Source: Flickr/Pinchof 2.0

1. Explore Haystack Rock

The star attraction at Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock, the natural, stone monolith that sits just offshore. When the tide goes out, put on sturdy shoes and hike around the base to see starfish and colorful sea urchins in the tide pools. Keep an eye out for the adorable puffins that nest in the rock during the spring and summer.

2. Take a Surf Lesson

Surf thundering waves after taking lessons from Cannon Beach Surf. Experienced instructors offer hands-on teaching so you can take to the sport quickly. Discounts are available for groups, and the company ensures a ratio of no more than four students per instructor for personalized instruction.

3. Explore Local History

See the evolution of the local area at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, where spectacular historic shots provide glimpses of shipwrecks, horse-drawn carriages, Model T Fords, and other Americana. Nearby, tour the Native American Longhouse or stroll the historic route of Lewis and Clark.

4. Browse Art Galleries

Explore downtown art galleries to see why Cannon Beach is a haven for artists. Leave your car behind and walk from your vacation rental; most galleries cluster along Hemlock Street in the pedestrian-friendly downtown area. Browse paintings by local artists at the colorful DragonFire Studio, or shop for pottery and jewelry at the Cannon Beach Arts Association Gallery.

5. Catch a Show

Feel like a part of the Cannon Beach community when you catch a performance at the Coaster Theater Playhouse. This friendly community theater presents a full lineup of well-known plays and musicals in a charming, intimate venue. Enjoy a pre-show dinner before making the short walk to the theater, which sits on the north end of downtown.

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6. Attend a Festival

Each year, Cannon Beach hosts a variety of fun, arts-oriented festivals. During June’s Plein Air and More Arts Festival, watch artists as they create along the beach and around town. In November, the Stormy Weather Arts Festival comes to life with musical performances and arts workshops. Other notable events include Savor Cannon Beach, in March, and the Spring Unveiling, in May, which celebrate wine and culinary arts.

7. Hit the Beach

On a hot day, grab a patch of sand for an afternoon of swimming and sunbathing. Cannon Beach extends for more than four miles, so it’s easy to find a private spot. If you’re visiting during the cooler months, gather shells and sand dollars while walking along the waterline with the locals. The surf is particularly stunning at the end of the day, when the setting sun lights up the swirling mists with vibrant colors.

8. Watch a Glassblowing Demonstration

Watch as an artist blows molten glass into a one-of-a-kind work of art at Icefire Glassworks in downtown Cannon Beach. Friendly owners are always willing to answer questions, and don’t worry — a glass viewing window protects you from the heat. Afterward, tour the gallery to view awe-inspiring completed pieces by several local artists.

9. Sample Locally Crafted Spirits

Sample small-batch spirits at the welcoming Cannon Beach Distillery, where each brew is fermented, distilled, and bottled onsite. Be sure to ask about the latest offering in the Carronade Collection; each spirit in the collection is produced only once. If it coincides with your trip dates, attend the release party for a new batch and enjoy spirits and live music.

10. Visit Ecola State Park

Just north of Cannon Beach Ecola State Park lies a bastion of peaceful wilderness. From the main overlook, peer south down the coast for a stunning panoramic view of Cannon Beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike the 1.5 miles from the main parking area to Indian Beach to swim, surf, and savor beautiful sunsets.

11. Shop the Farmers Market

Stock your vacation rental with locally grown produce and fresh baked goods from the Cannon Beach Farmers Market, soaking up the friendly neighborhood vibe and listening to live music while you shop. When it’s time for a break, grab a snack from one of the prepared-food vendors. Be sure to sample the cheese locally produced in nearby Tillamook.

12. Rent Recumbent Bikes

Get a fun workout with a recumbent bike rental from Family FUNcycles. These unusual bikes cradle your torso as you recline comfortably. Thick wheels provide excellent traction, so bring your bikes down to the beach and practice getting up to speed on wide expanses of beach.

13. Try Fish and Chips

Drop in Ecola Seafood and try the fish and chips, a local favorite. This family-run establishment prides itself on serving fish line-caught off of the owner’s two fishing boats. With its low-key environment and ultra-friendly staff, the restaurant makes a great respite after a hike or a walk on the beach.

14. Visit the Lost Art of Nursing Museum

Get out of the rain at the Lost Art of Nursing Museum, a quirky spot that’s curated by Melodie Chenevert, a professional speaker, and nursing expert. This free museum celebrates the heyday of nursing with vintage art, sheet music, toys, and much more. The admission-free museum is open standard hours during the summer and by appointment the rest of the year.

15. Check out Hug Point

A few miles south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Recreation Area features an abundance of sea caves along a rocky shore. Wait until the tide goes out, then walk around the point. Keep an eye out for grooves dug into the rock; these are the remains of a historic stagecoach route.

 
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